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Coordinates: 51°32′38″N 0°04′50″W / 51.543781°N 0.080577°W / 51.543781; -0.080577

De Beauvoir Town
De beauvoir square1.jpg
The distinctive Dutch gables and mullioned windows of houses in De Beauvoir Square
De Beauvoir Town is located in Greater London
De Beauvoir Town

 De Beauvoir Town shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ332842
London borough Hackney
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district N1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Hackney South and Shoreditch
London Assembly North East
List of places: UK • England • London

De Beauvoir Town (pronounced /diː boʊˈvwɑr/; us dict: dē bō·vwâr′) is a district of the London Borough of Hackney, in North London. Its borders are Kingsland Road in the east, Southgate Road in the west, the Regent's Canal in the south and Tottenham Road in the north.

It shares the northern London postal district of N1 with neighbouring Islington, Barnsbury, Canonbury and Hoxton.




19th century

Until 1820 the area now covered by De Beauvoir Town was open country with a few grand houses. In 1821, stimulated by the opening of the Regent's Canal the previous year, developer William Rhodes secured a lease for 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land from Peter de Beauvoir. Rhodes planned to build residences for the upper classes in a grid pattern, with four squares on diagonal streets intersecting at an octagon. However, work stopped in 1823 when Rhodes was found to have obtained his lease unfairly and after a court case spanning over 20 years the land reverted to the de Beauvoir family in 1834.[1]

The delay in building had meant that Rhodes' clientele had since moved on to the new suburbs of the West End. The scheme was scaled down and of the planned squares only the southeastern was built, as De Beauvoir Square, although the diagonals partly survived in Enfield Road, Stamford Road and Ardleigh Road. Occupied in the 1840s by the newly emerging middle classes, the estate was almost wholly residential, except around Kingsland Basin and the south-west corner where a factory was leased from 1823.[1]

20th Century

De Beauvoir Estate, completed in 1971[2]

In 1937, due to its easy access to Kingsland Basin, the south-east corner between Downham Road and Hertford Road was re-zoned for industrial use. Soon after all the area south of Downham Road was included. This distinguished it from the north side of Downham Road, which was already zoned for business and acted as a buffer for the mainly residential streets beyond. In 1938 De Beauvoir Crescent was suggested as another business zone to protect housing to the north.

In the early 1960s the northern part of De Beauvoir Town, between Buckingham Road and Tottenham Road was rebuilt as the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney's Kingsgate estate. In the late 1960s a larger area, west of the canal basin, which contained many small factories, made way for the De Beauvoir Town council estate. The east side of De Beauvoir Square was also lost to the Lockner Road estate. In 1968 the De Beauvoir Town association was formed and the rest of the square with the area bounded by Englefield Road, Northchurch Road, Southgate Road, Hertford Road, and Stamford Road became a conservation area in 1969. This area was later extended to cover most of De Beauvoir Town; the eastern edge, however, is in the Kingsland conservation area.

Notable residents

Fi Glover is the presenter of Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4. She's a BBC journalist and presenter. Her style is characterised by a mix of serious journalism and subtle satirical and sarcastic comment. Edmund Gosse was a poet, author critic, and the son of naturalist Philip Henry Gosse. De Beauvoir Town is home to William Lyttle, a 75-year-old retired electrical engineer, known as the Mole Man of Hackney. During this time Mr Lyttle has been digging a series of tunnels under his property on the corner of Mortimer Road and Stamford Road. In 2001, his tunnelling caused an 8 ft (2.4 m) hole to appear in the pavement on Stamford Road. Reports that the tunnelling had started again in 2006 were confirmed when Hackney Council found a web of tunnels and caverns, some 8m (26ft) deep, spreading up to 20 m in every direction from his house. In August 2006, the Council succeeded in getting a court order banning Mr Lyttle from his property while they carry out emergency repairs.[3][4]

Elected representatives

The local MP is Meg Hillier. Local councillors for De Beauvoir ward are Rob Chapman, Gulay Icoz and Chris McShane.


Transport and locale

Districts within the London Borough of Hackney
Nearest stations

The nearest London Overground station is Dalston Kingsland, on the North London Line. In 2010, the East London Line will open, with stations at Dalston Junction and Haggerston. Essex Road, part of the National Rail network on the Northern City Line is to the north-west of the district.

There is no local London Underground station but about 20 minutes walk away, the nearest are Angel, Highbury & Islington and Old Street.

Nearby bus routes

The area is well served by buses.

  • 21 (Newington Green - Lewisham)
  • 30 (Marble Arch - Hackney Wick)
  • 38/N38 (Victoria - Clapton)
  • 43 (Friern Barnet - London Bridge Station)
  • 56 (Smithfield - Whipps Cross)
  • 67 (Aldgate - Wood Green)
  • 73/N73 (Victoria - Seven Sisters)
  • 76/N76 (Waterloo - Seven Sisters)
  • 141 (London Bridge - Palmers Green)
  • 149 (London Bridge - Edmonton Green)
  • 242 (Tottenham Court Road - Homerton Hospital)
  • 243/N243 (Waterloo - Wood Green)
  • 277 (Highbury & Islington - Leamouth)
  • 341 (Waterloo - Northumberland Park)
  • 476 (Euston - Northumberland Park)

Walking and cycling

The Regents Canal towpath is easily accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. Travelling east, provides access to Victoria Park, and to the west, Islington.


External links


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